Best Coffee Spots Uptown
Life without coffee is like a phone without charge. But does your daily recharge ever feel a bit too routine? If you’re bored of returning to that same franchise on your block, here’s a glimpse of all the wondrous cafes Washington Heights has to offer:
Pastries with your coffee?
CHOCnyc on West 212th Street and Broadway
Chocnyc is a quaint pastry shop with an open kitchen. Give yourself a minute to marvel how their pastry offerings come into being, but try not to pull your hair out deciding between the orange pecan biscotti, Nutella tart, walnut coffee cake, cracked pepper biscuit...you get the idea. The friendly chef who also served coffee revealed that the key to cupcake pleasuredome is to let its cream sit and “open up.”
While patiently waiting on my cream, a customer raved: “Your food is just good. It doesn’t need the fancy, gimmicky crap. It’s just good.” Indeed, my passion fruit and coconut cupcake hit all the right spots. The shop only seats eight, but is directly across from Isham park, providing an open view and a great alternative picnic spot. Bring a date? I think so! But beware - there’s no restroom facility so you’ll have to potty elsewhere!
A good place to work or eat:
Darling Coffee on West 207th Street and Broadway
Darling Coffee resembles a hip, eclectic cafeteria: it houses a large, bustling crowds, vast selection of coffees and foods, children’s watercolors lining a wall, chess board table, and even a standing desk! And yet it is a safe haven for working professionals. Many patrons are on their laptops and respectful toward Darling’s designated signage at each table declaring, “Yes Computer” and “No Computer.” The vibe is casual and offers a great space to mingle. Darling is definitely a good place to be for a meal with friends or to get work done.
An affordable buffet with your coffee:
Hilltop Perk on West 171st Street and Haven Avenue
Hilltop Perk is a hole-in-the-wall shop that caters to a largely collegiate crowd. They offer perhaps the finest black coffee in Washington Heights, courtesy of Stumptown Roasters, as well as a delicious and affordable breakfast and lunch buffet. Dine in or take it to go. Yum!
That classy spot for when money’s no object:
The Uptown Garrison on West 181st Street and Pinehurst Avenue
The Uptown Garrison is a massive coffee shop, bar, and restaurant with a dimly lit, refined interior, and industrial-themed lighting. A stairwell connects two dining rooms, both of which pack up during weekend brunch hours. Food orders are brought to your table. I had a breakfast sausage sandwich and an Americano. They were delicious, but definitely trimmed off fat from my wallet. Make sure to take someone you want to impress or simply splurge because you gotta treat yoself!
Great sandwiches, smoothies, and juices to go:
Green Juice Café on West 184th Street and Broadway
Green Juice Café commits to its green design: the chairs, wall stickers, and plants; Even its walk-in mat resembles a large patch of grass! Sure enough, their thoughtfulness towards the décor transcends through their food and drinks’ quality.
They serve an array of freshly made juices, smoothies, coffees, teas, and sandwiches. Try having an espresso shot with their Sweet Buzz - blended with banana, peanut butter, and nutella - it is simply divine. They’re a cozy shop (four thin tables for two) with an even cozier bench out front. For those who need an afternoon to draft the next Harry Potter, swing by during your writing break instead! To accommodate the traffic, there is a 15-minute time limit for coffee, tea, or water. I recommend taking your sandwich and drink on the go. You’d be done slurping the Sweet Buzz and Lox of Love by the time you reach Blink or Planet Fitness nearby!
Socializing with Ethiopian coffee:
Café Buunni one block north of Bennett Park
Café Buunni is an Ethiopian coffee shop located one block north of Bennett Park. They offer coffees and pastries in a cozy, well-lit space decorated with African masks, assorted plants, and about a dozen photos of NYC. For those of you crazies who buy into the absurdity of “less is more”, Cafe Buunni might be the only shop I’ve seen that sells an 8oz coffee.
There’s a communal spirit inside: a large rectangular table seats about ten alongside stools. If crowded, there are two benches outside (weather permitting). And of course, they’re within eyesight of Bennett Park, so get their Ethiopian macchiato and take a stroll!
There you have it! If you’re the type of person who reads about coffee shops, I shouldn’t have to give you any more damn excuses to go have a brewtiful day already. As the saying goes, when you feel depresso, have a little espresso! Just brew it!